Thank You For Being a Guardian Angel

Holt CEO Phil Littleton shares a special message with sponsors. 

Linda Holm's daughter, who once had a Holt sponsor, in her high school graduation photo.
Linda Holm’s daughter in her high school graduation photo.

Recently, I went back and reread a story in one of our older Holt sponsorship magazines. It’s a sweet story about an adoptive mom who also sponsors children in India, the country where she adopted her two daughters. It got me thinking about my own children, who are also adopted, and how incredibly meaningful sponsorship would have been in their lives.

My wife and I adopted our kids domestically in the U.S., so we know they didn’t have sponsors before they joined our family. But I often think about that — about how vulnerable they would have been if they had lived in an orphanage overseas, and how grateful I would feel to the people who so generously cared for them during that precarious time in their lives. Continue reading “Thank You For Being a Guardian Angel”

They Don’t Like Girls

“Why do they want to let the children to study?” says Payal, her dark brown eyes perplexed.

“Especially girls…?” Mayvis adds hesitantly — the addition to Payal’s statement that makes all four girls nod in mutual questioning. Payal, Sanjana, Manixa and Mayvis are recording a message for their Holt sponsors. And this, their biggest question, marks a drastic shift in tone.

Just five minutes ago they sat upstairs in their classroom — proudly performing an American pop song in front of their classmates. Their friend group, all between the ages of 11 and 13, calls themselves the “Planet Chicks.” They like to talk on the school bus, dance and sing, and encourage one another to do the right thing.

They are happy, carefree girls. But, as their biggest question lets on, they know things could be drastically different. The conversation becomes serious.

“They don’t like girls,” Sanjana says, “they only like boys.”

“People in the village,” Payal clarifies.

These girls all come from families that have migrated from the villages to the booming, southern city of Bengaluru. The villages they speak of are actually cities of several hundred thousand people, where people still adhere more strictly to the rules of traditional patriarchal society. Where they come from, it is common to educate boys, but not educate girls. Where they come from, young girls get married.

This is an excerpt from a longer story that originally appeared on the Holt Stories blog in July 2018. 

Just $27 can help keep a young girl safe and  in school. Right now, your gift doubles to help build girl-friendly bathrooms at school!

 

 

A Reason for Hope

In India, and in developing countries around the world, the COVID-19 crisis has significantly increased the risk of child marriage. But there’s one way to protect the future of girls everywhere: an education.

This is an edited excerpt from “The Child Brides of COVID-19,” which originally appeared on Holt Stories in May 2021.

Across the globe, girls who marry young are more likely to experience domestic violence. They are at increased risk of early and unplanned pregnancy. They can become isolated from family and friends. And as the demands of housework and motherhood take up their time, they are less likely to stay in school.

The global COVID crisis may set back decades of progress even in communities where our partners had effectively ended the practice of child marriage. But one key factor continues to make a dramatic difference in the lives of girls and women. And that’s keeping girls in school.

Continue reading “A Reason for Hope”

A Look Inside Orphanages Today


Since the pandemic first began spreading in early 2020, it’s changed life for everyone — but especially children in orphanage care. Here’s what life looks like now for children in orphanages from China to India to Thailand. 

Continue reading “A Look Inside Orphanages Today”

How COVID-19 is Affecting Sponsored Children in Delhi, India; A Q&A With Jim Dé

An interview with Jim Dé, director of our partner Shishu Sangopan Griha (SSG) in Delhi, India. Jim shares how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting Holt-sponsored children and their families in Delhi,  and how sponsors and donors are helping to meet their most urgent needs — especially now, during the country’s deadly second wave

Masked to prevent the spread of COVID, a local team member meets with sponsored children and families in Delhi.
Masked to prevent the spread of COVID, a local team member meets with sponsored children and families in Delhi.

How is the pandemic currently affecting Holt-sponsored children and families in Delhi?

We saw a huge surge between the month of April and July/August 2020 and then we saw a huge tapering down of the situation and people were getting back to work. So I think the first couple of months in 2020 at least to the middle of the year was pretty difficult for lots of families. And then by Aug/Sept, we saw people getting back to work.

However, the sad thing is that in 2021, it’s back to a bigger bang than in 2020. We are seeing a huge surge in the number of cases and it seems like every second house is affected with COVID. This is an extremely precarious situation right now. …

When [India’s recent lockdown] started off, the people did not realize that it was going to last over a month. Since the last two weeks, it has been painful because it’s back to no income and bare survival. Thanks to support from Holt sponsors and donors, we have been able to reach out to all the families and help them with financial aid to overcome this situation. Continue reading “How COVID-19 is Affecting Sponsored Children in Delhi, India; A Q&A With Jim Dé”

How Sponsorship Helped Devi Avoid Early Marriage

Holt CEO Phil Littleton shares a letter he recently wrote to Holt’s child sponsors. 

Devi (top left) avoided early marriage with the help of sponsors
Devi (top left) with her mom and her younger siblings.

I recently came across a heartbreaking statistic.

According to UNICEF, “Over the next decade, up to 10 million more girls will be at risk of becoming child brides as a result of the pandemic.”

 

I read this in a story we recently shared about the rise in child marriage in India due to COVID-19, and how sponsors like you help to protect girls at risk. I hope you get a chance to read this story about the powerful difference you make as a sponsor. Continue reading “How Sponsorship Helped Devi Avoid Early Marriage”

How Does Your Money Get To Your Sponsored Child?

Why we don’t give your $39 monthly sponsorship donation directly to your sponsored child’s family or caregivers, and how Holt uses your money to help your sponsored child instead.

A mom and her son in Colombia. Sponsorship helps this boy attend a daycare program where he receives a critical early education.
A mom and her son in Colombia. Sponsorship helps this boy attend a daycare program where he receives nourishing meals and a critical early education.

Every month, you faithfully send your $39 to your sponsored child … Sort of.

Technically, you send your gift to Holt International, trusting that we will properly steward your money and direct it to your sponsored child. While we do on occasion give cash directly to families to meet immediate identified needs, we don’t actually give your sponsored child and his or her family $39 in cash or check each month.

Why, you ask? Wouldn’t our sponsorship program be just as effective if we simply wrote a check each month?

 

Well, that’s a great question, and it is one that our sponsorship team often hears. Continue reading “How Does Your Money Get To Your Sponsored Child?”

The Child Brides of COVID-19

In India, and in developing countries around the world, the COVID-19 crisis has significantly increased the risk of child marriage. But one key factor continues to make a dramatic difference in the lives of vulnerable girls and young women: child sponsorship.

For representative purposes only. To protect her identity, we are not sharing any photos of the girl featured in this story.

 Rani* was just 17. She did not want to get married. She argued and pleaded with her mom. She asked her social worker to convince her mom to delay her marriage. Rani knew her mom was struggling to support her and her two little sisters. If she got married, it would ease the burden on her family.

But she knew what she could look forward to. Continue reading “The Child Brides of COVID-19”